Statement on the Passing of Paul Laxalt

Paul Laxalt was one of Ronald Reagan’s closest friends and advisers, going back to the days when Reagan and he were governors of California and Nevada. But Paul was much more than that.

He was one of the few elected officials in the country to support Reagan’s revolutionary challenge to Gerald Ford in 1976. And of course, he was national chairman of Reagan’s historical 1980 campaign for president. Reagan later asked Paul to serve as national chairman of the Republican Party.

The son of Nevada sheepherders, he was a veteran of World War II, a successful businessman and a stalwart and loyal conservative. In the 1970s, no meeting of conservatives was complete without the presence of Paul.

He was also one of the most decent men in American politics. He was kind, thoughtful and gentle, right down to his ever-present cowboy boots. Each year, for years, he and his wife Carol raised money and collected gifts for “Toys for Tots,” working with the US Marine Corps.

I interviewed Paul many times and each time was a joy, as he always had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.

Another page in the history of American conservatism and the life and times of Ronald Reagan is turning.

Paul Laxalt, RIP.